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WeekendWatch: Ideal spots to catch the rocket’s red glare

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We may be biased, but Boston has to be the best place in the country to celebrate the Fourth of July. Where else can you get world-renowned musical performances, first-rate fireworks, and crowds of revelers that seem to go on for miles? On Monday, many of us will once again celebrate our nation’s independence with the famous Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. And there are plenty of viewing options to choose from. Whether you’re willing to brave the crowds, or want to find a quiet spot to watch the rocket’s red glare, we’ve got you covered.

The Esplanade
The Boston Pops’ concert begins at 8:30 pm at the Hatch Memorial Shell, where you’ll likely find the largest crowds anywhere in the city. Hoping for a good spot from which to watch one of this year’s special guests, Martina McBride? Don’t worry — the area opens up at 9 am that morning — and yes, people do start gathering that early. If you want to catch the music live but don’t want to deal with the enormous crowd, consider catching the Pops’ dress rehearsal a day early, on Sunday.  For more info, visit www.july4th.org.

From the water
Ever wondered what it would be like to be out there on that big barge that launches volleys of fireworks high above the Charles? Well, we have too. Just because they don’t take passengers doesn’t mean you can’t join ‘em on the water. Every year, scores of boaters flock to the river for what is perhaps the best possible view of the patriotic display. Get in on the action by renting a canoe, kayak or rowboat from Charles River Canoe & Kayak (reservations are required!). Most people paddle up close, to the stretch between the Mass. Ave. and Longfellow bridges, but as long as you’re on the water, there are no bad seats.

From the Charles River bridges
Looking for an excellent view of both the fireworks and the city skyline? Get on a bridge! The Longfellow Bridge closes to cars at 4:30 pm and the Mass. Ave. Bridge follows suit at 6 pm, so there should be plenty of time to secure your spot.

West Village H
The glass-encased common rooms on the northeast end of this 16-story building offer one of the best views of Boston from campus — wouldn’t you agree? Unless you’re lucky enough to call this residence hall home this summer, we suggest you make friends with a resident and get yourself an invite, fast.

From your couch!
If you’re planning a backyard barbecue with friends and family and don’t plan on breaking to brave the crowds along the river, you can still catch all the action on television. WBZ-TV begins its local broadcast of the Esplanade festivities at 8 pm, and the Boston fireworks spectacular is beamed out to a national audience at 10 pm on CBS.